Whom Does Licensing Protect?

Our Ethics and Economics Challenge program is using a new economics text this year, Common Sense Economics. We learned recently about the reasons why two particular kinds of government regulation — price controls and entry restrictions — are especially likely to cause harm. Price controls cause shortages or surpluses, while entry restrictions reduce competition. One kind of entry restriction is […]

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Cooperation and Leviathan

Last week, I spoke to the Ethics and Economics Challenge students about the Prisoner’s Dilemma. The Prisoner’s Dilemma is a stylized game for two players involving cooperation and defection; we played it with the following rules: Players reveal either a black or a red card simultaneously. Reveal a black card to “push” $0.30 to the other player. Reveal a red […]

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Immanuel Kant as a Philosopher of Freedom

Last week, I met with the MVHS students to discuss Section 2 of The Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. We looked at the way Kant derived a “categorical imperative” from the idea that morality commands us categorically rather than hypothetically. For instance, morality says “do not murder,” not “if you don’t want to go to jail, do not murder.” […]

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A Good Will

One of the new readings we are doing for this year’s Ethics and Economics Challenge course is Immanuel Kant’s Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals. Last week, I spoke with the students about the first part of this essay, and we discussed Kant’s conception of morality based on the good will. Kant says a good will is the only unconditionally […]

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